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Parexel And Icon Ink Research Deals With Pfizer

Pharmaceutical research contractors Parexel and Icon PLC will partner with Pfizer Inc., becoming the two preferred providers of clinical trial implementation services.

BOSTON (AP) -- Pharmaceutical research contractors Parexel International Corp. and Icon PLC said Thursday they will partner with Pfizer Inc., becoming the two preferred providers of clinical trial implementation services to the world's biggest drugmaker.

Parexel and Icon's work is intended to help speed up drug research and make it more cost-effective as Pfizer is looking for ways to reduce its spending and improve its success in developing new drugs. Research service companies have struggled during the economic downturn as large drugmakers have canceled or delayed expensive clinical trials.

Earlier this month, Parexel, based in Boston, said it would restructure its early-stage clinical research business because of disappointing results. It plans to update its guidance Wednesday to reflect the five-year agreement.

Icon, based in Dublin, said Pfizer will leverage its expertise in areas such as program initiation and management, and quality assurance.

The partnerships will be implemented over the next 18 months to two years. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the agreement.

In midday trading, Parexel shares gained $1.34, or 5.7 percent, to $25, and Icon stock rose $1.33, or 5.5 percent, to $25.55. Pfizer shares fell 11 cents to $20.67.
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